Marketing is a discipline in a constant state of flux. We are expected to adapt to the trends and try to stay one step ahead of our customer, their needs and perceptions. This is no easy feat and oftentimes we get it wrong.
Failing isn’t a bad thing as long as lessons are learned. One lesson we’ve learned at Brandwatch is that it’s important to plan and identify themes that the entire team can work from. Whether it be the content team or the product marketers we have direction, planned activities, but most importantly, the ability to be flexible.
The marketer of 2018 series is as much for us as it is for you. We want to set forward our themes for 2018 and gain the knowledge needed to succeed before the fact.
The theme we’re focusing on this segment is real-time marketing across the customer journey. By sharing the key components of this strategy you can adapt it to your brand’s goals and objectives. In this blog we give an overview of the strategy, but for in-depth details, download the free guide.
Marketing, the state of play
We are demanding beings. We know what we want and we want it quickly. From food to improved battery life. From ecological beauty products to online streaming. Our expectations increase while our tolerances lower. This presents quite the challenge for marketers who want to reach us in those times of need, because the message needs to land, and well.
Luckily, our understanding of the customer journey has improved significantly, no matter how non-linear it is. This knowledge enables us to look at each stage of this journey and identify the activities that will best serve the needs of our customers at that time.
This is nothing new. But being able to act on those opportunities as they happen to drive real and memorable interactions that nurture those relationships will be a true measure of success for marketers in 2018.
“30 years ago, if as a consumer we wanted information we had patience. We asked a company to send us a brochure and it arrived three days later. Today the consumer has the power of social media at their figures tips and things happen at light speed.
If I make a comment on social media, what is the expectation that is responded to by a brand? Consumers now want brands to respond in seconds, just as if we are having a conversation with that brand and they are standing right next to us. This is the reality of Real-Time-Marketing (RTM).”
– Tim Hughes, Co-Founder, Digital Leadership Associates
But how, you ask.
A focus on real-time marketing and the dynamic customer experience is an excellent starting point. When people think of real-time they think of the Oreo moment, no surprise there but we have come a long way since 2014 and so should our perceptions of this discipline.
It’s not siloed in social media engagements any longer, it’s been opened up to the entire customer journey. By all means, continue to try to valuably interact with your customer on social. Keep your eyes open for opportunities during large-scale events but keep them open beyond that point too.
What if a customer has abandoned a cart three times in a row? Is there a discount code you could offer them at that point? Perhaps.
What if you were tracking the mentions from a shopping center where your store is located and tailored your in-store messaging to reflect this conversation? Download the guide for more examples.
Bear in mind the ‘if this, then that’ principle.
The road to success
There are a few different elements you need to have in place in order to succeed at this strategy but the good thing is, if your brand is already dedicated to customer experience it will be easy to bridge the gaps.
It would be pretty hard to execute a real-time marketing strategy without live data. You need to have the data necessary to give you a complete overview of the customer – customer voice, location data, user-generated content, engagement activity, website traffic data, CRM…
“In today’s competitive landscape, customer data provides marketers more opportunity than ever to offer personalized, relevant customer experiences, and those who can deliver real-time marketing are poised for the most success” – Dennis Wakabayashi, Vice President; Digital and Commerce Integration @ The Integer Group
This may sound like a daunting task but with the right tool, you can have all of your data in one place. Identifying opportunities and reacting accordingly will become second nature. Find out how Vizia can help.
While real-time marketing is all about reacting in the moment, this is pretty hard to do if you don’t have a solid content marketing foundation.
Real success comes when you can use the assets and campaign that you have already planned and weave them into your real-time strategy. Creating a level of efficiency that will drive your team forward.
Reebok in association with Gigi Hadid created content in preparation for the spring fashion weeks that consisted of a video and other visual content. Once fashion week rolled around they joined the conversation by giving tips on how you can stay on top of your game during countless shows and appearances.
The second marketing aspect you need to have nailed is your brand tone and aesthetic. We’ve all seen examples of off-pitch and poorly timed real-time marketing pushes, don’t be one of these brands.
You can never underestimate the power of people. This strategy requires someone that can identify opportunities in a sea of data. They understand the relationships between different datasets.
Being able to look at the world from a macro and micro point of view is a key characteristic.
Of course, not everyone will be convinced of the merits of real-time marketing and it may be your job to help them see the light. A product like Vizia helps translate this value by creating a central narrative across the department, and organization. We explain more in the guide.
The bottom line
As mentioned, not everyone will be optimistic about the prospect of putting out brand messages in real-time and creating decisions on the fly, but fear not.
First of all, real-time marketing can drive social media effectiveness. By reacting in the moment and maintaining a reactive point of view, you can free up key time and focus on the other areas that need work.
Additionally, real-time marketing has been proven to increase customer satisfaction which leads to a knock on effect most of us are familiar with – increased satisfaction leads to improved retention rates which decrease churn and in turn improves profits.
A recent study of marketers revealed that 58% believed that real-time marketing lead to a 58% increase in customer satisfaction and positive brand sentiment while 35% say it increased retention and loyalty.
Sounds good to me.
The future of real-time marketing will lie in the technology that becomes available to us. One this is for sure though, customer-centric strategies are here to stay.